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Academic Lecture:Income Inequality in Chinese Provinces: The Role of Human Capital

Topic Income Inequality in Chinese Provinces: The Role of Human Capital

Speaker:Professor Albert Park, Chair Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Policy Research, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Host:Prof. Xu Bing, Research Institute of Economics and Management

Time:Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 4:00-5:30 pm

Virtual Platform:Zoom Meeting ID: 912 7177 6815 Password: 446295

Organizers: Research Institute of Economics and Management China Household Finance Survey and Research Center, Office of International Exchange and Cooperation, Research Office



Speaker’s Profile

Professor Albert Park is a development economist with more than 20 years of extensive experience in this field. He has also served as an international consultant to the World Bank and a member of the steering committee of the Center for Population Aging at a research university in the Asia-Pacific region. Professor Albert Park’s research interests cover a wide range of development topics, including poverty and inequality, intergenerational mobility, microfinance, immigration and labor markets, future work trends, and foreign investment.


Professor Albert Park is currently the Chair Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Policy Research at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was recently appointed chief economist by the Asian Development Bank. Prior to this, he was the founding director of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Institute of Emerging Markets, a professor at the University of Oxford, and an associate professor at the University of Michigan. He has also held editorial positions in several leading economic journals.


Professor Albert Park is American and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University and a doctorate in applied economics from Stanford University.



Lecture Preview

We conduct the first systematic empirical analysis of income inequality in China at the provincial level. Using data from the China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) and a combined Lorenz curve semi-parametric approach, we estimate Gini indices for Chinese provinces in 2012, 2014, and 2016. We find that differences in the “prices” and “quantities” of human capital are important factors explaining differences in inequality across provinces. Provinces with higher educational inequality, lower average years of schooling, and higher returns to schooling have higher levels of income inequality. Inter-provincial differences in the returns to schooling may be attributable to remaining barriers to labor mobility. Our findings suggest that poor provinces are highly disadvantaged compared to rich provinces: they face higher income and educational inequality as well as higher returns to schooling while at the same time having lower average educational attainment. We conclude that the reduction of existing inter-provincial human capital gaps and the acceleration of labor market integration through appropriate government policies could substantially contribute to the reduction of income inequality and disparities in inequality across regions in China.


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date:2021/11/01

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